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With the development of the land which houses Arena Essex looming over us, the future of King of the Ring is still uncertain. Round 5 is the penultimate round of the series this year. If you have been following my posts on King of the Ring had have been debating going then I suggest you get to Round 6 on October 6th as that may be the final ever round.
Knowing that the end may just be around the corner, I’ve taken to getting there as early as possible to catch some of the practise. Qualifying for the competition normally starts at about 5pm but most of the drivers are there from early in the morning to get a full day of practise. That’s potentially 8 hours of seat time for £100 which is really, really cheap!
As a spectator I enjoy watching the practise. It’s just a nice way to spend an afternoon. I normally sit down near the back corner and just watch the cars go round under the summer sun. It’s rhythmic and relaxing. I used to frequent the Wednesday evening practise too but haven’t been able to at all this year unfortunately.
Practise is also the best time to get photographs. There are a few cars on track in each session and there’s normally not too many people about so you get free reign of where you want to stand without getting in other people’s way.
I shot a couple of practise sessions and there were some cool and unusual cars, along with some more familiar cars, in each!
In the first we had Lee Reed in the Volvo 940. These are normally quite a cumbersome car but Lee’s is fast and planted! It’s more than a match for some of the BMWs!
Nerijus Voliukevicius always brings a splash of colour to proceedings with the yellow R33 Skyline.
This little Bad Taste Racing MX5 was a nicely presented car. Mk1 MX5s are just one of those cars that put a smile on my face whenever I see one. They have such character!
There was a little Mk2 going around as well!
Purple really suits the E46 Compact. It’s nice to see one that’s an unusual colour!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fliss Spinks has come on leaps and bounds this season. One to watch out for in the future I reckon! Husband Peter has been doing really well in the Skid Row car too! I like his estate and I like the AC Schnitzer wheels on the front of it. I didn’t get any photos of it that night unfortunately.
It was nice to catch up with the Zefslide team! They recently had a charity event at Angmering which raised over £1000 for Macmillan Cancer Support which is wonderful! I couldn’t make the last one but will be going to the next. When details are released I will be posting them on this blog too so keep an eye out!
Here we have Alex Chapman from MAPT Motorsport. More on them later!
In the second session there was a really cool E46 BMW that had been converted to a pick up truck. I had a replica Vaughn Gittin Jr livery too. It really caught my eye haha! I took a fair few pictures of it.
It was nice to see James Emerson back at Arena and in an S-Type Jaguar. An unusual car for drifting but it seemed to go well!
Here’s some more of the Zefslide team:
Here’s Leon Smith in what I believe to be a new car:
I then took a wander down into the pits to catch up with some friends and see some more cars.
I believe this estate is owned by David Deividas. It had a V8 and was by far the best sounding car there!
I then went to catch up with team MAPT Motorsport who are very kindly sporting my stickers!
There was a bit of wheel and tyre swapping going on which in Alex’s case meant a little gentle modification needed to be done to the E36. I’ve always thought this way of rolling arches was a bit… ghetto… for want of a better word. But it actually looked alright!
Mr Paul Parnell very kindly let me come out for a couple of passenger runs. As seems to be the MAPT way Paul was very fast, very smooth, very confident and very consistent. All the drivers on that team seem to get around arena like clockwork.
I took a bit of video footage in the first run:
In the second run I took some stills chasing my favourite truck!
With my DSLR you can only view what you are taking through the view finder. There is no option to bring the image up on screen. Looking through the view finder makes everything look tiny and really far away. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to taking a picture of a chase car thinking it’s a long way away and then coming away from the view finder to find I could put my hand out of the window to touch. (Please don’t do that kids!)
Then it was time for the driver’s briefing!
I always watch the drivers briefing. Sometimes I learn something useful for these posts if I go into depth about qualifying but most of the time I just go to feel important.
In the time between the driver’s briefing and the start of qualifying I wandered off to catch up with Dan Harle of Dirtee South.
Dan Harle organises the show and shine area at King of the Ring and also brings out a stall with not only club merchandise such as shirts, stickers, hats and lanyards but also products from his detailing range Dirtee Detailing. Dirtee Detailing can be found on Facebook here: Dirtee Detailing
I’ve not tried Dirtee Detailing yet but I have in my possession a couple of Dirtee South’s merch products and they are really really nice quality! Sensibly priced too which is nice to see.
Dan also very kindly handed out some Motorsport for Mental Health stickers to the show and shine attendees!
The Show and Shine at King of the Ring is always good but Dan and his team really excelled themselves this time. There was a fantastic and varied array of cars on show.
It’s an unusual place to have an air filter. I bet this little Polo is fantastic fun to drive though! I know nothing about VWs but I’m confident that’s not the original engine.
Clean E36 Cabriolet.
The E36 pickup was unusual. It was very professionally finished!
K11 Micras are such a cool little car when modified.
There were two vans at the show that really grabbed my attention. The first was this blue VW Transporter. The air-ride and entertainment installations were incredibly clean. It’s a very well presented van! I love the VIP rope across the door too!
The other was this brown VW Caddy. Again it was very well presented and the customer interior in the back of the van was breath taking!
Ex-KOTR driver Oliver Bolton brought his British Drift Championship car to show. I used to follow professional drifting quite closely but haven’t done now for a couple of years. It was nice to get myself reacquainted with a top level car.
Car of the Show for me this time will come as a bit of a surprise to you all! I’m not a fan of Vauxhall’s Corsa platform. They just aren’t for me. I know a lot of people are really into them and that’s fair enough but they just aren’t for me.
This one is really really nicely done though! Everything about it is just right for my tastes and it looks very professional.
I sat on the back corner to watch the qualifying. Mark Chapman’s run stood out to me which is why I took the photograph. He was very smooth and followed the judges instructions to the letter. The judges agreed and he took top qualifier for this event.
Following qualifying was a burnout competition. Any member of the public could join in. 90% of entrants were rear wheel drive and most, to be honest, were unexceptional. There were a few cool entrants though. This chap had a go in a long wheel based Jag XJ! He was my hero! I love seeing big luxury cars get a thrashing like that, although I’d never be brave enough to do it in my own.
Christopher Monkhouse lent his friend have a go in his E36 touring. The burnout was great but the car didn’t agree to such punishment and caught fire. Thankfully Christopher had a fire extinguisher in the car and the marshals had one to hand too so they fire was dealt with before too much damage could be done.
A Honda Civic from show and shine then came out on track and showed the rear wheel drive owners how it’s done by blazing through it’s front tyres and shrouded Arena in smoke. Fair play to you sir! Fair play!
In the battles, Nerijus would take the victory followed by MAPT Motorsport’s Jon Hudd in 2nd, BDC driver Aurimas Vaškelis in 3rd and Paul Parnell in 4th.
Once again it was a great evening. I’d like to thank Adam and Steve for organising these events, Propper Droppers for the sounds, Dan and Dirtee South for organising the show and shine, the track marshalls, the paramedics and of course the drivers for a great evening.
Don’t forget the final event is on October 6th! I hope to see as many of you there as I can!
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By Richard Francis